Mordy and Natali Oknin
Mordy and Natali Oknin From Facebook

A Turkish court on Friday decided to extend by 20 days the remand of Mordy and Natali Oknin, the Israeli couple detained for photographing the palace of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, until the start of their trial.

This is contradictory to earlier reports that a deportation order would be issued, and that the couple will be flown to Israel immediately afterwards.

According to reports in Israel, the couple is suspected of espionage. Channel 12 News reported that during Friday’s hearing, a representative of the Turkish prosecutor's office claimed that the couple photographed not only Erdogan's palace and private home, but also the security positions and cameras.

The prosecution claimed that the two marked the photos, highlighted them and sent them to a third party, and as such they intend to file an indictment against them for espionage.

A local lawyer representing the Israelis claimed that the couple took pictures for their family because they did not know that it was forbidden to take pictures.

The Turkish lawyer is expected to appeal the decision to keep the Oknins in custody. He told Kan 11 News that the couple is in good condition and added that the Israeli Foreign Ministry and diplomats stationed in Turkey must intervene because this is an issue that is also related to relations between the two countries.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid spoke on Friday evening with the families of the Oknins and informed them that the Foreign Ministry had requested an urgent consular visit to the couple, and is working to release them at all levels.

The Foreign Minister stressed that the couple "do not work for any Israeli agency."

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)

Join our official WhatsApp group